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Title: Comparing the Dynamics of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Harvested and Unharvested Watersheds within the Oregon Cascades
Clearcutting and other land-use changes are known to release terrestrial carbon and mobilize organic carbon into streamwater, significantly augmenting aquatic carbon levels in the short-term. However, little is known about the lasting impacts of forest management decisions on the riverine concentration levels of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC). Here we compare data from HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, a long-term ecological research (LTER) site located in the Oregon Cascades. We paired stream chemistry and discharge measurements spanning 15-30 years. Two watersheds that were 100\% clear-cut 40-50 years ago (WS01 and WS10) were compared with their unharvested and controlled counterparts (WS02 and WS09). Temporal analysis showed that, on average, DOC concentrations in the old-growth watersheds are notably higher than their harvested analogs to this day. This suggests even though clearcutting can release DOC from soil and vegetation to water, the terrestrial organic carbon stock is ultimately depleted post-clearcutting resulting in lower DOC concentrations. Concentration-discharge (CQ) analysis also revealed a sharp difference in behaviors between watersheds 1 and 2, with WS01 exhibiting a slight flushing pattern bordering on hysteresis while WS02 displayed a pronounced dilution pattern. Based on the shallow-deep hypothesis (Zhi et al. 2019; Zhi and Li, 2020) this indicates that the old-growth more » watershed has a pronounced groundwater DOC source, and clearcutting could have altered this source within WS01 and significantly lowered baseflow organic carbon concentrations. However, it should be noted that WS09 and WS10 displayed DOC behavior similar to that of WS01, which could also signify that the previously mentioned opposing CQ behaviors are a result of some underlying geological or lithological contribution unique to WS02. These competing hypotheses will be further tested using a watershed scale reactive transport model HBV-BioRT.", « less
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American Geophysical Union Annual Conference
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National Science Foundation
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